The aim of this study is to compare cryotherapy made only with water and cryotherapy made with chamomile infusion for prevention and reduction of intensity of oral mucositis in patients with cancer receiving 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin.
This is a randomized pilot study with two groups: cryotherapy made only with water (control group, n = 18) and cryotherapy made with chamomile infusion (chamomile group, n = 20). Both groups were instructed to swish the ice around in their oral cavity for at least 30 min during chemotherapy. Assessment of oral mucosa occurred on days 8, 15, and 22 after the first day of chemotherapy.
Fifty percent of the patients in the control and 30 % in the chamomile group developed oral mucositis. Mouth pain score was higher in patients in the control group on all evaluations (p = 0.02 for day 8, p = 0.09 for day 15, and p = 0.14 for day 22). Patients in the chamomile group never developed mucositis with grade 2 or higher. Presence of ulceration was statistically significant on day 8 (16 % in the control vs. 0 % in the chamomile group, p = 0.10), but not in days 15 and 22, although 11 % still had ulcerations in the control group and none in the chamomile group.
The occurrence of oral mucositis was lower in patients in the chamomile group than in the control group. When compared to the controls, the chamomile group presented less mouth pain and had no ulcerations. Cryotherapy was well tolerated by both groups, and no toxicity related to chamomile was identified.